Malabar Farm was home to Pulitzer Prize winner, Louis Bromfield and has been an historic landmark since 1939. Bromfield built his 32-room home, named the “Big House”, in the gentle rolling hills of the Pleasant Valley in Richland County, just south of Mansfield. Not only was Bromfield a notable author, he is also known as a conservationist. Many of the farming techniques he practiced to produce rich, fertile soil are still in practice today on this working farm.
Malabar Farm State Park has long been a favorite destination for my family. My kids have grown up petting the miniature horse in the barn, feeding the hens in the chicken yard and attending the annual Maple Syrup Festival and Fall Heritage Days, festivals that draw visitors from all over the state of Ohio. Malabar Farm still holds its appeal, even though my little ones have now grown into young adults. We visit less as a family now as my kids now hike the trails and enjoy the sunset from the Mount Jeez overlook on their own.
15 Things to do with the Family at Malabar Farm State Park
1. Milk a cow. Okay, maybe not a real cow in this case, but young and old will get a kick out of trying to milk this cow in the Visitors Center.
2. Press a penny in the penny pressing machine.
3. Learn about farming, local wildlife and sustainability practices in the Visitor’s Center.
4. Go to a festival. In addition to the popular Maple Syrup Festival and Heritage Days that I already mentioned, Malabar Farm is home to several more popular events. For a full list, visit their website.
5. Go square dancing. Malabar Farm opens their Main Barn for live music and a caller several times a year. This free event welcomes beginners.
6. Take a hike. Malabar Farm has 12 miles of trails for hiking or horseback riding. Our favorite trail is the Butternut Trail, an easy hike that leads to a small cave that you can walk through. The cool temperatures inside the cave feel wonderful on a hot summer day.
7. Tour the 32-room Big House. This is the home where Louis Bromfield penned some of his many books and where he welcomed Hollywood sweethearts, Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart who wed at the base of his grand staircase.
8. Go stargazing.
9. Overnight in the hostel or camp in the primitive campground.
10. Go fishing.
11. Strap on your skis and head across country.
12. Search for letterboxes.
13. Visit the highest point on the farm at Mt. Jeez Overlook, which is especially scenic during the fall.
14. Eat a locally grown meal at the historic Malabar Farm Restaurant.
15. Take a wagon ride around the property to learn more about the history of the farm and see how the forward thinking and sustainable farming practices of Louis Bromfield have been implemented and how they affect at Malabar Farm.
Tips for Visiting Malabar Farm State Park
If you visit during one of the festivals, you’ll find plenty to do. If not, begin your visit in the Visitor’s Center to learn about the park and to see the tour schedule.
Younger children will enjoy the interactive hands-on exhibits and the main barn where they’ll have a chance to pet some of the farm animals and feeding the chickens. You can pack a lunch and eat in one of the picnic areas.
Older kids and teens will also enjoy a tour through the Big House, a farm wagon tour and the Butternut Trail. Don’t forget to stop at Mt. Jeez before leaving the area.
If you’re visiting Malabar Farm State Park, add a stop to the romantic Malabar Farm Restaurant.
Depending on your interest level, you can spend an hour or several hours at the park.
Address: 4050 Bromfield Road Lucas, Ohio 44843
Cost: Entrance to the park is free but there is a fee to tour the home and to take a wagon tour.
For a detailed list of hours visit the website: http://www.malabarfarm.org/index.php/maps/park-information
© 2013 – 2017, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.